Select Praise for Andalucian Televesion, pt.1

Last year, I wrote a piece bemoaning the sorry state of modern Spanish music. An easy sequal would have been to reproach Spanish television for its general inanity and frustrating failure to entertain. While I still maintain this point of view, I feel that I must highlight certain exceptions that have proven themselves to be not only worthwhile programs, but staples of my nights. (Exempt from this discussion are soccer matches, which entertain by their own right, not by virtue of presentation. Though I must admit that perhaps the single most entertaining televsion to be seen in Spain these days is any given FC Barcelona match. This is a preversely talented team that hasn´t lost a league match for five months now, and boasts the best player in the world in Leo Messi.)

Andalucía´s regional network, Canal Sur (South Channel), without a doubt deserves the highest marks. Unbound by national syndicate regulations, Canal Sur, along with its sister network, Canal Sur 2, frequently  provide the highest quality and most diverse programming on a nightly basis. Three shows in particular rise above the rest, and do so with a common theme: celebrating Andalucia´s singular culture. Ratones Coloraos, Colga2 con Manu, and Andaluzes por el Mundo, airing on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights respectively, are each brilliant and addictive reflections of the region that is simultaneously the most Spanish part of Spain and completely unlike any other part of the country (or world, as the Andaluzes por el Mundo attests). 

 

Ratones Coloraos

Who is Jesús Quintero? Is he totally crazy? Is he kind of creepy? Is he hands down the best interviewer in Spain? The answer to all of these questions, except for the first one, is yes. Quintero is none other than the host of the enigmatic and somehow hypnotizing program, Ratones Coloraos (¨Colored Mice,¨ from a bizarre Spanish saying employed to cite wiseness, tú sabes más que los ratones colorados – ¨you know more than the colored mice¨). You know as soon as you see the stage setup – vintage gold microphones on a sparkling silver table, flanked by two gray space-age chairs, surrounded by giant hanging ears and eyeballs in a dimly-lit studio draped entirely in black – that the guests are entering Quintero´s fantastical, borderline new age universe.

Quintero, a vastly accomplished journalist, possesses an alarming facility for finding the most eccentric guests possible, many of them only famous within Andalucía, or at least with a special connection to the region. Memorable participants in the show have included everyone from the official liasson between Gibraltar and Spain, to beloved TV host Patricia Conde, to a young Senegalese man who came to Spain on a boat with no family at age 12, and who has now become a cultural fixture in Jerez de la Frontera singing africanized flamenco (I actually met him at a Christmas party last year, before I knew who he was, only to be surprised to see his his face on tv the next month), to a homeless man, Risitas, who Quintero found on the street and has since turned into his right hand man, appearing almost every program, to the Mexican man who appeared last night, whose entire face is covered in hair  due to a rare disease. What makes this show so special is that Quintero, instead of sensationalizing the extraordinary conditions of many of his guests, forgoes the obvious questions, often leaving out even the relevant questions, and aiming directly at the heart and soul of the interviewee. It seems that part of his strategy is getting guests that are making any notable career moves at the moment, which alows them to fully open up, unhindered by the typical here´s-my-latest-project-isn´t-it-great speil . He is rewarded with incredibly candid and poignant thoughts on the human condition, from perspectives that society does not bother usually solicit. 

Bravo, Quintero, keep the mice coming.

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~ by lincolnbrody on February 4, 2009.

One Response to “Select Praise for Andalucian Televesion, pt.1”

  1. […] here in Andalucía that for me represented welcome relief from the otherwise unwatchable offerings (Select Praise for Andalucian Television, pt. 1,  Select Praise for Andalucian Television, pt. 2, and Select Praise of Andalucian Television, pt. […]

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